Jennifer and Graham met in college, he was actually the first college boy Jennifer kissed, but they were just good friends until their senior year when Graham made the move to something more.
Their first official date was a San Diego adventure, which ended with the newly-minted couple drinking Blue Moons on the beach, toes in the sand, while they watched the sunset over the Pacific.
Fast-forward seven blissful years together, Graham took Jennifer out for a memorable meal at their favorite French restaurant in Santa Monica. After an amazing dinner, they headed back home and Graham blindfolded Jennifer before leading her into their bedroom, which he had decorated with candles and fairy lights. He spoke about their love and future together before getting down on one knee and asking Jennifer to be his wife. Jennifer, of course, said "yes!" and the couple flew to Hawaii the next day. Talk about a celebration.
When it came time to find a venue, Jennifer and Graham were drawn to vineyards, ideally in the gorgeous Temecula Valley Wine Country. Graham is studying wine, so it was a great way to pay homage to this passion.
They looked at a handful of venues, but when they found the beautiful Abbott Manor they knew this was the place. "The moment we got there we were blown away by the gorgeous outdoor venue that was like a fairyland," said Jennifer. "After talking with the owner, Albert, and getting along so well with him we knew this was the right spot."
Graham and Jennifer had their first date on August 8th, 2011 and they really wanted a wedding date that was as close to their seventh anniversary. It just so happened, that the only date that Abbott Manor had left for a Saturday in August was the 11th. "We took that as a sign and booked the venue that day," said Jennifer.
Graham and Jennifer are both fun and whimsical and they wanted their wedding to really show their personalities. They decided on an enchanted forest theme and combined both boho chic and romantic glam elements to make this vision come to life for their 100 guests.
"Our goal was to transport our friends and family into our own little love world for the evening," said Jennifer. "We wanted it to be fun and dynamic so everything we did we wanted people to enjoy."
The couple found fun, inventive ways to get their guests to participate in their day. Instead of a photo booth, they rented big light up signs for photo backdrops and optimal selfie moments.
Jennifer wore a beautiful Stella York ballgown with lace and tulle over regency organza to create a frothy, floaty silhouette. She purchased her dress from Della Curva, a plus size bridal boutique just outside of Los Angles, Calif. Graham wore a pale gray Calvin Klein suit with a rose tie to keep the color profile soft and romantic.
Their floral design was done by a family friend, who owns the floral design studio Tessie’s Flowers. "She did an incredible job designing each piece to reflect our colors and theme," said Jennifer.
To keep everything low-key, the couple chose to do open seating with a couple of reserved tables for their families.
A really special element was having an area of family photos, which included family present and past. They also had custom characters of the wedding party for their attendant signs and a guest book made with a graphic of the couple along with their two beagles and their dog who passed away complete with sweet little angel wings. The small, personal touches made the big day that much more special.
Jennifer and Graham's favorite part of the ceremony was reciting their vows to each other. "It was such a special and beautiful moment that we were so grateful to share in front of God and the people we love most in this world," said Jennifer.
The biggest challenge during the planning process was keeping everything under their $25,000 budget. Jennifer said that they cut it close and they did end up being a little thrown by all of the last minute expenses.
Jennifer's advice for other members of the Big Bride Club is to let yourself really enjoy your day. "We all worry about the wedding planning process, but the day of the wedding you will be in the moment and having an incredible time," said Jennifer. "Be kind to yourself in the planning process and know that you are beautiful and worthy of your own fairytale!"